The Question: For my reception, I have the choice to do Open Bar, top Shelf for $60 per person, or beverages on consumption around $8 for a cocktail. I'm not sure which one will work out better for me and I need some advice. The Answer: Well, I think that this really depends on both your crowd, AND the price of non-alcoholic beverages. On average, most guests at a wedding drink more alcohol than they would normally. Typically a drink per person, per hour. So at $8 a drink, you could really end up paying a high price for all this revelry! Additionally, if you are paying more than $2 or $3 for cokes and ice teas and things, then you may find that even your non-alcoholic drinks are racking up the tab. I have a wedding this weekend priced on consumption and even coffee is nearly $5 per person. I generally like open bar packages because you have, from the very beginning a view of the bottom line.
That said, for light drinking crowd or a daytime brunch reception and Sunday evening weddings, consumption can often be a big savings. Guests typically drink a bit less at daytime affairs, and Sunday evenings sometimes people want to keep things in check if the next day is a workday.